“All created beings are unmanifest in their beginning, manifest in their interim state, and unmanifest again when they are annihilated. So what need is there for lamentation?” (Lord Krishna, Bhagavad-gita, 2.28)Download this episode (right click and save)
Friend1: God is nice.
Friend2: Of course.
Friend1: Because He is Paramatma.
Friend2: The Supersoul, residing in the heart.
Friend1: He is always with me. I am actually never without God.
Friend2: You, me and everyone else. He is the very definition of the atom, paramanu. Think about it. How amazing was the discovery of the atom?
Friend1: It was pretty big.
Friend2: And yet the Vedas had already defined it. The concept of paramanu predates the discipline of science itself, or “natural philosophy” as it was once known.
Friend1: People will say that they received the grace of God after something good happens to them. Especially if that thing came to them after a struggle.
Friend2: Right. That’s why so many rehabilitated drug addicts turn to religion. They were at rock bottom and found their way back up. They attribute the success to the Divine.
Friend1: Alright, that’s understandable. What about the opposite situation?
Friend2: What do you mean?
Friend1: Someone who had everything good and then it all changed. They had the worst things happen to them.
Friend2: Like what?
Friend1: It doesn’t matter specifically; choose anything. Rape. Theft. Murder. A natural disaster comes and wipes out their whole family. How is this person supposed to believe that God is nice? Actually, how can anyone properly convince them that God is nice?
Friend2: Those are good questions. I like how you used the extremes for an example. This is a good exercise for the brain, to see how well the philosophy is assimilated.
Friend1: So there is a simple answer? Obviously, it’s known that good and bad things happen in life. That’s just how it goes. I can see someone acknowledging that, but going one step further to say that God is nice seems like a difficult sell.
Friend2: What you are describing is essentially loss. Is that fair to say?
Friend1: Hmm, okay. Yeah, theft is a loss. Rape is the loss of safety, privacy, respect. Murder is the loss of life. The natural disaster is loss at a grand scale. Okay, I’ll agree with you.
Friend2: Good. Now, the thing is, loss can only happen after there is gain.
Friend1: What do you mean?
Friend2: You can only lose something after you first gained it.
Friend2: So why aren’t you just as upset at the gain?
Friend1: I’m not sure I follow.
Friend2: If you’re mad at God for losing something, you should really be angry at Him for giving it to you. You should think that God is not nice because He gave you birth. He’s mean because He gave you friends, family, a nice house, and a good job.
Friend1: Why would someone be angry at those things?
Friend2: That’s what I’m trying to explain. It’s difficult to see, but it’s the proper perspective. The loss which you referenced was guaranteed as soon as there was acceptance. Krishna explains this nicely in the Bhagavad-gita. When there is birth, there must be death, and so on. The wise person does not let this bother them.
Friend1: So, just because we lose something it doesn’t necessarily mean God is not nice?
Friend2: Exactly. You get something. You form an attachment. It leaves you. You become sad. This cycle is not managed directly by God. With Him, loss is not always a bad thing, either. One of His names is Hari, which means “one who takes away.” For the devotee He sometimes takes away things that are important to them.
Friend1: Why would He do that?
Friend2: They are obstacles in the path of devotional service, bhakti-yoga. To make the proper assessment on God’s disposition, you have to judge His influence on things that are beyond the temporary.
Friend1: Like above gain and loss?
Friend2: Right. He is always with us as Paramatma. That is a good start. The next thing is that He always leaves the door open for returning to Him, to the place where there isn’t the duality of gain and loss. He welcomes us back, even if we’ve ignored Him for many lifetimes. That is kindness. He sends the acharya to dissipate the darkness of ignorance. He allows us to stay with Him through something as simple as sound. His amazing kindness is ever present in the maha-mantra itself: Hare Krishna Hare Krishna, Krishna Krishna, Hare Hare, Hare Rama Hare Rama, Rama Rama, Hare Hare.
How God nice considered to be,
When so many tragedies to see?
From the loss we’re upset,
But why not when first to get?
Guaranteed whenever to gain,
In this way birth and death the same.
To spiritual world keeping open always the door,
His kindness lifting to ceiling from floor.